I am starting to get my food prep. cooking mojo back on. It disappeared for awhile after Paul passed on but due to an ahha! moment in the past few days it is back. This means I am revisiting some notes taken in some of the nutrition classes I have taken. My favorites were taught by a dietitian here in town working, at the time, for the University Hospital's Integrative Medical Program. S, I am going to pass on some of the information here.
Since it is Fall I thought I would start with pumpkin. It is high in Vitamin A. If I remember right vegans and vegetarians that means this is a great food source for us as well as everyone else. Vitamin A keeps inflammation down and helps with upper respiratory issues. It also soothes the mucus membranes making perfect for this time of the year. Butternut squash, sweet potatoes, carrots and orange Bell Peppers are the "sidekicks" to pumpkin. Canned pumpkin is more nutritious than fresh. I am working on converting a pumpkin, chocolate chip cookie recipe into a vegan version using carob chips, honey, and fresh made apple juice instead of sugar.
When i get that perfected I will put the recipe up. I am loving eating the "mess ups"!
Spinach is next. It contains chlorophyll(as are all leafy greens) which helps to bind to carcinogens and eliminate them. It is high in iron, calcium, B vitamins, zinc, plant based Omega 3's, magnesium, CoQ10 & caratenoids. It has been shown to reduce cancers of the colon, lungs, skin, stomach, ovaries, breasts & prostate as well as reduce heart disease and cataracts. Try adding it to an omelet, saute with garlic and Olive Oil as a side or meal(adding some mushrooms, onions & smoked tofu makes a great meal) use it instead of empty iceberg lettuce on a sandwich or in a salad.
Beans and Legumes some of my favorite foods. They increase iron levels and thus blood counts.
They are high in folate, soluble fiber for lasting energy and sweeping away bad cholesterol. They contain phytochemicals which supports angiogenesis(cutting off the blood supply to tumors). A good rule of thumb is to eat 1/2 cup at least four times per week. Black Beans are nutrient dense but red, navy, pinto & garbanzo beans are all good choices. Add them to a salad (my favorite thing to do with them), make a soup, add to grains or one of Paul & mine favorites make bean tacos or burritos. Beans should be soaked over night or in the morning before work throw them in some water to soak and they will be ready to cook when you get home. If you cook beans with some kombu it will release glutamic acid and leach the trace minerals into the water
Soy-the controversial food. Always make sure your soy product says NONGMO and try to avoid highly processed soy products like soy protein isolate, TVP, and excessive soybean oils. Soy is best enjoyed in its' traditional forms like tofu, tempeh, edamame, miso & tamari soy sauce. Tofu is high in all of the Amino Acids unlike meats and also in Omega 3's. try substituting tofu for meat once a week. There are versions out there that are preflavored with spices or smoked. Fake n' Bacon Tempeh is one of my favorite things. Just heat it and serve it like you would a BLT. Nama Shoyu is my preference in a soy sauce because it is unpasteurized but other than that similar to tamari. Soy does contain phytoestrogens making it necessary for some to avoid it. Just because it contains soy does not mean it is always healthy. Soy is one of the more highly genetically modified foods around that is why making sure it is NONGMO is important. There are also many highly processed soy products out there.
Garlic and onions... yum! They help increase good cholesterol and are antiviral & antibacterial. This time of the year they are a great food to be eating. Half to 1 clove per day can lower bad cholesterol by 10%. Onions are high in chromium which helps to control insulin and allow it into a cell. The yellow and red onions have more nutrients. For both onions and garlic you want to peel them and wait five minutes to consume them. The garlic needs to be smashed and onions chopped to release the nutrients.
Okay I will leave it there for now. As the seasons change so do the cravings we get and the kinds of seasonal foods that are grown. Eating with the seasons keeps us in balance and in harmony.
A great rule of thumb when shopping that another dietitian repeated constantly in her classes is that if Time Traveller would not recognize it than do not buy or eat it. There are a few things I buy and eat that time traveller would not recognize but the ingredients in them he or she most definitely would. I am thinking of the Field Roast patties and sausages and the seitan all made with gluten and legumes.